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The Splendid and the Vile
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz | Erik Larson
167 posts | 109 read | 8 reading | 85 to read
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and The Devil in the White City delivers a startlingly fresh portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz On Winston Churchill's first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons (30,000 of them Londoners) and destroying two million homes. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally--that she was willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." It is a story of political brinksmanship but also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill's prime-ministerial country house, Chequers, and his wartime residence, Ditchley, where Churchill and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest. Drawing on a wealth of untapped sources, including recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries only now available, Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their daughters, Sarah, Diana, and the youngest, Mary, who chafes against her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; her illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisors who comprised Churchill's "Secret Circle," including his dangerously observant private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Federick Lindemann. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today's political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when--in the face of unrelenting horror--Churchill's eloquence, strategic brilliance, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.
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KCofKaysville
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This is more like what I read. On Churchill and WW2.

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Monica5
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Pickpick

Erik Larson always writes a well researched history book, and this one is no different. He looks at the early years of WWII and the blitz on London. I enjoyed this different look at London during WWII. Larson tells us in detail how the bomb shelters truly were. I learned so much by listening to this audiobook. Churchill was an interesting person but eccentric. He had no shyness about him and would take baths while his secretary was taking ⬇️

Monica5 notes from him in the bathroom. He watched the bombing of London from rooftops. With all his eccentrics, I don't think anyone else could have saved London and the world from Hitler the way he did. I think the book probably would have been better if I had read it instead of listened to it. I assume there would have been pictures and maps that would have brought it more clearly to me.

If you enjoy WWII history, you would probably enjoy this book.

😊 Happy Reading 😊

#bookspinbingo #20in4 Readathon #Readaway2024 #history #nonfiction
4mo
CoverToCoverGirl My Nan was a war bride. She never spoke about it much but she lived through the blitz and did survive a couple of close calls. This was such a good book. 4mo
18 likes3 comments
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KristiAhlers
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Pickpick

Fair warning, I'll read just anything regarding Churchill. I worried this author wouldn't grab me as he runs hot and cold for me. However this one was a solid read and offered a unique perspective on a topic that's widely written about. #bookspin @thearomaofbooks

CoverToCoverGirl I love this book! 9mo
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starlight97
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Pickpick

"Somehow, through it all, Churchill had managed to teach them the art of being fearless."
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
#catsoflitsy

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dabbe
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Pickpick

Finally finished this #AuthoraMonth from May. My overall thought is how lucky England was with Churchill: definitely the right man at the right time. After reading this, I wonder if we would have won WWII without him. While I loved Larson's THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, this did become a bit cumbersome. My diary is less detailed than this! Did I need to know his every waking moment? No. Though him taking daily naps was endearing. 😃

@Soubhiville

Tkimsal I loved White City as well! 10mo
dabbe @Tkimsal Wasn't it fantastic? I had to keep reminding myself it was nonfiction, especially the “devil“ part! 10mo
Teresereading @Tkimsal loved it too, fascinating story 10mo
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LeafingThroughLife
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Pickpick

Review is late but I did manage to finish this 18 hour audio tome for last month‘s #bookspin and #aam

Larson covers the first year of Churchill‘s leadership and the British experience of World War II in all encompassing detail from a surfeit of primary sources. Larson‘s writing is approachable and paints a compelling portrait of Churchill in the context of the Blitz. Did I enjoy this? Yes. Was 18 hours of it a bit much? Also yes.

Soubhiville 18 hours does seem like a bit much for nonfiction! 13mo
Bluebird I also read this one and felt the same. Parts were excellent, but it it could have been pared down quite a bit. 13mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 13mo
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vlwelser
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Pickpick

18 hours of Churchill seems like a lot. Somehow this author pulls it off.

#AuthorAMonth @Soubhiville

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

Suet624 He‘s pretty good at keeping the reader interested. 13mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 13mo
dabbe I'm reading this, too, and have learned more about Churchill than I ever cared to know! 🤣 Larson is so good, though, at clear writing and making even the most difficult aspects of WW2 digestible. Hope I finish before the end of May! 🤣🤗😍 13mo
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Deblovestoread
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Pickpick

Even at an increased speed this was long and there were moments that I was distracted by life and would find myself thinking rather than listening but it was fascinating. Erik did his research and for an American I feel like I got a good picture of Churchill and his family. My impression is he was at the right place at the right time.

4 🌟 #AuthorAMonth

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AllDebooks
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#AuthorAMonth @Soubhiville

I tried so hard, but it's not for me. So many explanations for familiar landmarks really wound me up. Saying that, I am from UK. Maybe this wouldn't bother anyone from overseas.
DNF

jenniferw88 I'm currently reading this too, and struggling. It's so slow! Might be a bail for me too, but I occasionally find something new and worth highlighting (I'm doing it on Kindle). 13mo
35 likes1 comment
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Megabooks
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Mehso-so

I probably should‘ve stayed away from this for #AuthorAMonth because 18 hours is a bit much for a subject I‘m not already interested in, but Larson changed my mind before (Dead Wake about the Lusitania). However, even his insightful writing couldn‘t make me interested in the tedious details of Churchill‘s first year as Prime Minister. Eh. 🤷🏻‍♀️

squirrelbrain I‘m about halfway through Dead Wake - it‘s my first Larson and enjoying it so far. 14mo
Megabooks @squirrelbrain yes! I thought it was really well done. 14mo
Soubhiville Well at least you checked Larson off for your every-month-club entry! 14mo
Megabooks @Soubhiville I‘ve got two more checked out from the library that I hope to get to, but they came in a bit early, so I‘m going to have to get to them quickly! And you know I‘m that every month girl! 😂👍🏻 14mo
Cinfhen I actually LOVED this one and was just meh about Dead wake 😜 14mo
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LibraryCin
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Panpan

I found the personal/family stuff much more interesting. Erik Larson is probably one of my favourite nonfiction writers but this one just did not get my attention. I‘m sure I missed even much of the personal stuff, but of what I did take in, that was the stuff that did keep my attention, even if briefly. There were bits and pieces of info from Germany, and from the U.S., as Churchill really wanted the help of the Americans. This one, not for me

Quirkybookworm Now, that‘s a book I haven‘t seen for a long time! That‘s on my TBR list! 1y
LibraryCin @Quirkybookworm, I do hope you like it better than I did! 1y
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currentlyreadinginCO
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Pickpick

In London 1940, the war wasn't going great and America wasn't getting involved. Germany was rapidly expanding and England was increasingly alone in their fight. But, they had a guy -- and I acquired so much knowledge about this guy through this long book about a short period. I loved it!

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currentlyreadinginCO
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I like this a lot

BookwormM Great dedication 1y
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perfectsinner
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Checked into the campground this afternoon and continued a bit of this

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RainyDayReading
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Pickpick

New favorite! As someone who got a very America centric education regarding WWII, I enjoyed this immensely. Giving personal stories of those that survived The Blitz, depicting life while at war, providing glimpses into the life and family of Churchill, it made this book difficult to put down. It still includes major events involving Britain and Germany, but it focuses on the human element that is so easily missed when looking back at history.

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DarkMina
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Pickpick

23 of 2022. Winston Churchill is one of my favorite historical figures and Eric Larson a favorite author, so I was excited to read this book. I was not disappointed. Larson did a great job researching and telling the story of Churchill‘s administration during the Blitz with great insight into him and his family. Highly recommend! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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DarkMina
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#FirstLineFridays

“No one had any doubt that the bombers would come.”

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Butterfinger
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Pickpick

I want to listen to this epic research again. Like, as soon as possible. The intricate details that went into this work was amazing. The intrigue of not only between governments, but between the people. I loved how Larson entwined the primary documents, the diaries of regular people, with letters from military and government personnel to tell one heck of a story. Rudolph Hess's story was insane.

Butterfinger @megnews @MallenNC didn't you just say that narrative nonfiction was one of your favorite genres? Please put this on your tbr. 3y
sleepy.ash87 This looks like a great read! 3y
megnews I think it was @MallenNC I‘m not a nonfiction fan so when I make myself read it, I try to read narrative nonfiction, which I do enjoy. Thanks for the tag! 3y
MallenNC @Butterfinger @megnews It was me! I love narrative nonfiction. I do need to read this one. I‘ve enjoyed Larson before but haven‘t gotten to this one yet. (edited) 3y
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TheDarkBookworm
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I picked this book up out of curiousity. The title sounded interesting and sounded like something out of the Twilight Zone.
I've only just started it. So far, I find it interesting even though I don't read historical stuff often.
If you've read this, what did you think?
#thesplendidandthevile #eriklarson #winstonchurchill #theblitz #worldwarII #bookworm #readersshallruletheworld #readersgonnaread #bookwormproblems #toomanybookssolittletime

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DarkPizza
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I just found this so charming. And yes, I write in my books, fight me. I love buying used books with writing in them as well, or sharing books that are written in. It gives you such an insight into another person's mind.

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Sparkerdude
Pickpick

As a late Baby Boomer, I imagine grandchildren reading this book. It will be a story a century ago; and about people and a society that is long dead. Stripped down, like Churchill in all of his delicious indelicateness, it might be a character study for the ambitious who value competence, hard work, loyalty, ideals, symbolism, and who embrace joie de vivre(!). Larson reveals the force of Churchill in a single year (shorn of his worst colonialism).

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EmilieGR
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Pickpick

What was so wonderful about this book was that it wasn‘t just about Churchill- it was also about his family and his administration. Larson balances the man with the myth quite well and gives his reader insight into Churchill‘s motivations and desires. A fascinating read.

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Trace
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Pickpick

Great in depth account of the first year of the Battle of Britain during WWII from the perspective of the Churchill administration and family.

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Lizpixie
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Pickpick

Day2 of the #LitsySummerCampReadathon & I finally finished this brilliant NF audiobook! While waiting for more of the chunky wool for my scarf, I decided to keep #audioknitting and started this cotton baby blanket for my next grandbaby(due in 10 weeks!)on circular needles. This book was fabulous, it transports you back 80yrs to the chaos & death in a London almost destroyed by the Blitz.It gives insight into Churchill, his family & cabinet, plus👇

Lizpixie cont: there was a lot set in Germany about Hitler, Goebbels & Goehring which was fascinating. Highly recommend🙌 #NonFictionBingo #BookspinBingo #Pageathon #PennyPerPage #AudiobookChallenge2021 #ChunksterChallenge2021 #PickYourPoison #ReadingEurope2021 #BooklistQueenChallenge 3y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa Great job, and that‘s a beautiful color! 3y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 3y
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Lizpixie
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At the end of my 1st day of #LitsySummerCampReadathon I‘ve listened to just over 9hrs while #audioknitting my scarf. I‘ve had to stop as I‘ve run out of chunky wool until tomorrow🤞It‘s now at 130cm! I love this blue with the mustard yellow, I should‘ve bought more of it. #OpinionTime should I add a panel of the cream to this or should I order more blue & mustard? Will definitely finish the book tomorrow as there‘s only 3+hrs left.

Crinoline_Laphroaig I vote cream. 3y
Crinoline_Laphroaig Also 😲 at the reading time. 3y
Ruthiella I like just the bright blue and yellow together. 😀 3y
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Lizpixie
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100cms of #audioknitting (woohoo!🙌)and I‘ve run out of mustard.So the last half of my scarf will be a panel of this blue and a last touch of cream that‘s being delivered tomorrow.Bloody lockdown, can‘t even buy last minute wool! Just over halfway through the tagged audiobook, absolutely fascinating with not just facts about London during the Blitz, but also insights into Churchill‘s family, government & war office plus Berlin, Hiltler & Goerring.

Cinfhen Beautiful scarf 🧣 sorry about your current lockdown 😫I fear we are heading that way too!!! BTW: I really loved this book 📚 it was informative but personal 3y
julesG Another great colour for your scarf! I'd recommend having a tiny stash of yarn at home, BUT I know pretty well how that gets out of hand as quickly as book 'hoarding'. Lockdown is a bother. I can see Germany going back to lockdown at the end of summer. I'm not looking forward to schools being closed again. 😬 3y
Lizpixie @Cinfhen thanks lovely! Ugh this bloody lockdown seems never ending. There‘s two major issues, the Delta strain & our federal government‘s shortsighted lack of buying enough Pfizer vaccine thinking the Astra Zeneca was enough. There‘s so much hysteria about the deaths from blood clots but if you‘re not prone to clotting disorders or under 18, it‘s safe enough. Unfortunately I AM prone to clotting so won‘t be vaccinated till at least October🙄 3y
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Lizpixie @julesG I‘ve just finished a few rows of the blue and they look perfect together! Now I‘m kicking myself for only buying one ball🤦🏻‍♀️If I started hoarding wool as well, the hubs would leave me! Though my MIL is a huge crafter and has a sewing room full of fabric and wool. I might check out her stash😋 These variants are putting everyone at risk again, I‘ve just read even China is now struggling with Delta. We‘ll never be rid of it😩 3y
julesG We - humanity - will have to learn to 'get along' with pandemic viruses, it seems. 😩😩😩 3y
Freespirit I hope you get you shots soon😘 3y
Cinfhen That‘s super frustrating, Liz 😬stay safe ♥️ 3y
40 likes7 comments
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Lizpixie
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So far I‘ve done 42cm of #audioknitting!Not bad for someone who hasn‘t picked up a needle in 20+yrs.I know it‘s easy chunky knitting but I‘m warming up before embarking on a blanket for my next grandbaby(shh it‘s a surprise🤫).Loving this audiobook so far, it can be hard to keep up with NF in this format but this has been fairly easy, plus the narrator is great at voices for each person which match with historical records.How‘s your weekend going?

Ruthiella Looking good! On the other side of the world, my weekend hasn‘t actually started yet, but I had a good Friday, which bodes well! 😀 (edited) 3y
julesG I like the colour of your scarf(?) project. Enjoy your #audioknitting, I often find that I remember more from a NF audiobook when I knit (or crochet or...) along to it. 3y
49 likes2 comments
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Lizpixie
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Just started an #audioknitting project! I haven‘t knit anything in years, so long ago I couldn‘t find most of my kit. Ended up having to rebuy most, not just wool but needles, hooks, measuring tape, the lot. Got some bargains on eBay & Spotlight though. Picked up a set of 11 USB light up crochet hooks in a case for $10!🙌 Thinking of adding some stripes of this blue & a cream, or should I just block mustard? Oh, the book so far is brilliant!🤓🧶

jessjess SATV is one of my favourite nonfiction reads this year 3y
Tamra That yarn looks incredibly soft! 3y
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bibliobliss
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The raids generated a paradox: The odds that any one person would die on any one night were slim, but the odds that someone, somewhere in London would die were 100 percent. Safety was a product of luck alone. One young boy, asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, a fireman or a pilot or such, answered: “Alive.”

#currentlyreading #bookblurbs #audiobook #audionerd #history #Europe #war

acitygirlsthoughts I'm thinking of purchasing this one, since I've read a lot of positive reviews about it! 3y
bibliobliss @acitygirlsthoughts It‘s pretty good!! 3y
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EadieB
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Pickpick

#BookSpinBingo #July2021

This is an excellent account of the Nazi's bombing of London WWII during Churchill's first years as PM. Interaction with family members & staff & interesting anecdotes. Larson‘s an excellent researcher & this one is well done. I love the fact that Churchill taught his people "the art of being fearless." Having a leader like Churchill was a great comfort to the people. I look forward to reading more books by Larson.

TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 3y
Daisey I‘ve enjoyed a few of Larson‘s books and think I need to add this one to the list. Stacked! 3y
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Hestapleton
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Eggs 👏🏻❤️☑️📚👌🏼 3y
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Deblovestoread
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#CuriousCovers Day 3 #BlackandWhite This is in my audio library TBR. I‘ve liked the other two Larson‘s I‘ve read and I‘m looking forward to this one.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🖤📚🤍 3y
ladym30 Love his books!❤️ 3y
Eggs Great choice 👏🏻 Love Erik Larson 🖤⚪️🖤 3y
46 likes3 comments
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Lauren_reading
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Pickpick

Erik Larson always entertains with the details and stories.This book focused on the nazi bombing of London in the first years of the war.There‘s fantastic information about how Churchill and his government ran the way,tried to gain support from the US and developed weapons and gained help from civilians.My favorite story was about him going to meet Roosevelt to plan after the US joined the war and how he stood around naked talking to the president

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Caroline2
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I‘ve been wanting to read this for a while now. 😃 #99ponmindle #kindledailydeals

mjtwo It was fascinating 3y
Caroline2 @mjtwo good to know. 😉 3y
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rabbitprincess

Not calling this a bail, but I am going to put this book aside until I can get hold of a print copy. Reading it in electronic format is simply too difficult for me these days when I spend my entire life on screens for pandemic reasons.

WanderingBookaneer Not my favorite book by him. 3y
rabbitprincess @WanderingBookaneer I definitely found it harder to get into than Dead Wake, which was probably my fave of his. 3y
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GinaKButler
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I haven‘t posted a #bookstack in a while. My definite April reads. Hoping the squeeze in a few more titles! #bookspinbingo

marleed Oh, I‘ve read 3 of the 5 on your stack and enjoyed all three. I picked up a signed copy of the tagged when the author came to Kansas City in Mar 2020. Within hours on that very day Covid became something that was true for the country and the world. It was clear he was not comfortable being there. And I knew then that it would be the last time I‘d sit in a crowded sold-out room for a while. 3y
CoverToCoverGirl 🤩🤩 3y
GinaKButler @marleed Well, that is definitely a “I remember exactly where I was when x happened” moment. I love his books and this was no exception! 3y
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GinaKButler
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Starting today! I picked this up during the Covid lockdown last spring and just couldn‘t concentrate on it, so I set it aside for brighter days. I‘m using this as my 1940s pick for the Decades Reading Challenge (by The Book Girls Guide). I‘ve loved several of Erik Larson‘s other books and can‘t wait to dive into this one...I‘ve heard great things! #bookspinbingo

CoverToCoverGirl It‘s REALLY good! 3y
GinaKButler @CoverToCoverGirl I‘ve already been reading bits out to my husband. Larson‘s books are great! 3y
CoverToCoverGirl @GinaKButler My grandmother was a war bride. She experienced the Blitz first hand, married my grandfather, then came to Canada with him in 1946, when he returned home after the war. She told us stories and because of that, I found Larson‘s writing so vivid and accurate. I felt like I was reading part of her life story. 3y
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bookishdawg
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Pickpick

I find Churchill fascinating, though admittedly problematic, and read everything I can about him. This is now a favorite due to the glimpses into everyday life during his first year in office. Highly recommend on audio 👍🏻

bibliobliss I'm about halfway through. Enjoying this book for the insights into Churchill's mind. What a character! 3y
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staci.reads
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Pickpick

Excellent! It's a close look at Churchill and his inner circle during the first 12 months of his tenure, as he led Britain through the 1st year of WWII and Germany's Blitz of England. Larson brings to life the colorful characters involved and the day-to-day life of Londoners during the time. This was my March #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Ooooh, this one‘s on my TBR. It sounds SO good! 😍 3y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 3y
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melissajayne
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My favourite is the tagged book. I think I liked because it how Churchill rallied the Brits during the #battleofbritain with honesty and to do their bit and also Larson‘s writing style helped to move the story along. #lockdownfaves

Crazeedi Great book 3y
Bklover I‘m looking forward to this one. 3y
CoverToCoverGirl Great read! 3y
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Bookzombie I haven‘t read this one yet, but have really liked the two others I have read. 3y
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tjwill
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ladym30 This was excellent!❤️ 3y
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ValerieAndBooks
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Pickpick

The subtitle of this excellent book sums it up well: “A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz”. London had 57 consecutive nights of bombings by the Germans during WWII and the cost of lives was extremely high. This focuses on Churchill and his family from 5/10/1940-5/10/1941 and for sure I‘d have been a nervous wreck during that time and place. A good look at one aspect of the war; not intended to be all-encompassing.
#botm

Lynnsoprano We visited the Churchill war rooms in London, and it was harrowing and claustrophobic to be underground like that for just a couple hours. I can‘t imagine spending hours and days on end in such confined space. This sounds like a great book for my husband. 3y
ladym30 This book was so good. Actually, all of his books are excellent!❤️ 3y
ValerieAndBooks @Lynnsoprano when we visited London (20 years ago) we didn‘t get to see the war rooms...not enough time. You‘re fortunate you got to experience it. I think your husband would probably like this one. 3y
ValerieAndBooks @ladym30 I‘ve only read one other (Devil in the White City) and liked it. I have some of his others sitting in my TBR 👍. 3y
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BooksBecomeYou
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Recently, someone asked me who my favorite author is, and instead of giving my longstanding answer, I really thought about my response. Learned something- my favorite author is Erik Larson.

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Berryfan
Pickpick

Excellent book on the politics of England during the Blitz

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dcove979
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Pickpick

Outstanding book. Definitely lived up to the hype.

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mjtwo
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Pickpick

5-12 Jan 2021 (audiobook)
A well written and researched book telling the story of Winston Churchill, family and guests during the London Blitz. Churchill was eccentric; Australia was barely mentioned (probably to be expected but Australians like to think they played a large role in WWII); and I concluded that Japan really won the war for the Allies - bombing Pearl Harbour and forcing the US to join seems to have been the deciding factor.

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melissajayne
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I put a hold on this in early March and because of the pandemic, I didn‘t get it until early July, around the time that the library I use opened up. I found it to be incredibly engrossing and riveting. Day 2 of #12booksof2020

Andrew65 Looks good. 😊 3y
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